Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Angi Viper

Angi Viper as Catwoman

There are many talented models and performers who bring their love & enthusiasm to dressing up as their favorite characters. Comic Book Critic will regularly showcase a performer who embodies this spirit of cosplaying.

Whether it’s creating the costume from scratch, altering the appearance of an existing one, or just getting into character, these performers spend a lot of time and effort on their craft. As much as we all enjoy seeing our favorite fictional characters represented in real life, let’s not forget the behind-the-scenes work that goes into that portrayal.

One thing is for certain though, their love of cosplaying shines through in their work.

The Comic Book Critic Featured Cosplayer for March 25th, 2013 is:

Angi Viper from Burbank, CA

Angi Viper as Phoenix

Having started cosplaying in high school, Angi Viper is no stranger to costuming. We caught up with Angi and asked her about her experiences dressing up as her favorite characters.


Angi Viper as Black CanaryWhat made you decide cosplaying was something you wanted to do?

Ever since I was little, I always loved dressing up in costumes and pretending to be my favorite characters.  I’d mimic their voices and attitudes and throw quotes into everyday conversation.  I guess cosplay was just a natural continuation of something I already loved to do.  Plus, I loved the draw of making my own costumes.  I feel like it brings me much closer to the character and creates a deeper connection that I never got just throwing a black blanket over my head and saying I was Batgirl or wrapping a red towel around my chest and insisting everyone call me Jessica.

What was your first costume? 

I get my first two big costumes confused a lot and I can’t really recall which was first, but I know Gunner Yuna and Carcaptor Sakura’s final battle uniform from the second movie were my first real ventures into the world of cosplay.  I was heavily influenced by anime back in high school and my mom was extremely supportive.  She was the one that pushed me to start making costumes and helped me figure out how I could recreate outfits and made many of my costumes back then.

Angi Viper as Black WidowDo you model and is it something you did before you began cosplaying? 

Modeling (and acting) has always been a pastime that I enjoyed, but never something I actively pursued.  I went to film school, so there were tons of opportunities to put myself in front of the camera (still or action) and I took all of them.  I’ve always been more comfortable in front of a camera than in person, though, so cosplaying at conventions has been a push for me to step out of my comfort zone.  I try to become the character every time I put on a costume so every photo I release is as close to an embodiment of the character as I can manage.

Angi Viper as MeridaDo you make and/or design your own costumes? 

I make all of my costumes.  I try to take each new costume as a challenge to learn a new technique.  I do buy gloves and shoes most of the time just to take a little stress off and sometimes I enlist help to make props, but I always try it myself first.  I love to design costumes, but I have a wild imagination, so most of the things I design are way out of my budget.  I’m hopeful that some day soon you’ll start seeing more original costumes from me, but for now, I use images of characters as reference for my costumes.

What are your favorite characters? 

Angi Viper as CatwomanI’ve always been drawn to strong women and redheads, so growing up my favorite characters were Ariel, Jean Grey, Poison Ivy, Starfire and Jessica Rabbit.  Catwoman has always held a special place in my heart, as well as Raven, Morrigan, Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Saturn.  I also love characters with big personalities, so Harley Quinn is very close to my heart.  My favorite characters to cosplay are naturally sexy while maintaining a strong image.  Catwoman, for example, is one of my favorite characters to portray because she oozes sexuality through an almost full body of clothing.  It’s in the way she walks and talks and poises that she sells her charm.  She’s confident and powerful and she knows how to command her environment.  I also like to have fun, so I like to mix things up when I can and throw a crazy character in.  Someone I can just let loose as.  Snow White was one of those characters for me.  I made that costume solely so I could prance around and squeak out high pitched songs all day.

Angi Viper as AmaltheaWhich character do you find the easiest to play and which is the hardest? 

If I had to pick one, it would be Catwoman.  But the thing is, the characters I find easiest to portray are the ones I’ve loved the longest because I’ve literally spent my entire life trying to be them.  I basically just do what I do every other day, only in costume.  I think the hardest so far has been Amalthea.  I love the character, but she’s so sad and reserved.  It’s very difficult for me to get in that mindset.

What do you like to do in your spare time, other than cosplay? 

I love to sing.  I sing all day every day.  I also draw a lot and do special effects and beauty makeup.  I love movies, so I watch them constantly (especially animation and superhero movies).  I go for a lot of walks and hang out with my friends as often as possible.  I also love to dance, even though I’m not very good and I enjoy swimming, badminton and archery.

Angi Viper as Snow WhiteDo you read comics regularly and which are your favorites? 

I do!  I can’t afford to buy them as often as I’d like, but I try to follow my favorites – X-Men, Teen Titans, Deadpool, Grimm Fairy Tales, Gotham City Sirens, Batman, Green Arrow to name a few, plus whatever I randomly come across that strikes my fancy.

Are there any particular events or conventions that you prefer to appear at and how many do you usually attend in a year? 

I love comic book conventions, especially the smaller ones.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Comic-Con for the fact that I work in film and can stay up-to-date on the industry, but as a cosplayer, I much prefer “smaller” cons like Comikaze, LBCC and Wonder-Con.  It’s much easier to connect with the artists at those shows and there’s more space to breathe, socialize and actually see the costumes.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the crowd at a big con.  I try to go to as many conventions as possible, but I’m limited in my budget and travel abilities, so it’s mostly local and inexpensive cons or any that I get invited to as a guest.

What are some of your most memorable moments while cosplaying? 

I’d have to say one of my favorite things to come out of my cosplay career is my relationship with Random Encounters.  My first video with them, “The Best We Can Be” is what inspired me to start cosplaying again and I’ve loved every collaboration I’ve done with them since.

 

I also cherish every time I brighten someone’s day with my costumes.  It’s most noticeable with children.  Every time a child walks away thinking they met the real character, it makes my day.  I love seeing their smiles and the glow of wonder behind their eyes.  It happens with grown-ups too sometimes and every time someone’s eyes light up I just want to cry.  The greatest honor I feel I can receive is someone feeling, even for a moment, like a character they love stepped off the page and into reality.

Angi Viper as Chocolat

Are there any downsides to appearing at cons? 

I don’t think so.  It’s a great way to get noticed and meet new people.  You’re completely surrounded by people that love the same things as you and it’s an incredibly inspiring and uplifting environment overflowing with Angi Viper as Black Widowcreativity.  I suppose the only downside might be that the more attention you get, the harder it is to hang out with friends and see the convention because you’re being dragged away for photo-shoots and bombarded with photo-ops, but you have to know what you’re getting into before you put a costume on, so I can’t really complain.

What are some of your least memorable moments while cosplaying? 

I honestly don’t know that I have one.  I’ve loved every moment.  Even when a costume falls apart and I lose a ton of work, it’s an opportunity to learn how to do it better next time.  For example, my Dark Phoenix costume ripped a massive hole in the crotch the first time I wore it, so I learned very quickly to carry safety pins at all times and I was able to look at the suit with new eyes to see how I could prevent it from happening again.

Angi Viper as Phoenix

Who are some of your favorite cosplayers? 

When I was first getting into cosplay, the only big name out there was Yaya Han and I remember looking at her photos and losing my breath.  Her work is stunning and each new costume is amazing.  She inspires me to push myself to the limit.  Vampy is another cosplayer I’ve always admired.  Her Morrigan costume is my favorite to this day and she is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.  Traci Hines has been a cosplay and vocal idol of mine for years (an extension being Firefly Path as they make many of Traci’s costumes, most of which I would argue are the best representations of Disney characters out there).  I’ve followed Traci’s videos and cosplay since her start and it is my honor to call her my friend now.  I’m also a big fan of Holly Conrad, who’s armor work is some of the best I’ve seen.

Angi Viper as Ariel

How long have you been cosplaying? 

I started cosplaying in high school, took a hiatus in college and started back up a few years ago, so I’d say in combined time it’s been about 4-5 years.

Angi Viper as Snow White

How much time do you invest in it? 

A lot.  I call cosplay my third job because every free moment is dedicated to testing techniques, sketching designs, sewing, cutting patterns, making props or something else related to a current project.  Depending on the complexity of a costume, it can take me anywhere from 3 days to a month.

Angi Viper as Black Canary

What advice do you have for someone just starting out? 

Just go for it.  I always recommend starting small and maybe doing a few found item costumes first to get the hang of it, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.  The environment at cons is so warm and inviting, just have fun with it and do what makes you happy.  I would also recommend getting a few good shots of your costume (if you’re trying to get noticed).  You can’t count on a convention photographer to get the perfect shot of your costume, so get it yourself.  One really good picture outweighs a thousand bad ones any day.  And don’t be afraid to stay in character.  Fans love seeing a good representation of a character’s personality as much as their image, plus it’ll leave a lasting impression and help with photos.  When I model for a cosplay shoot, my primary focus is always “how would the character pose?” over “what did America’s Next Top Model tell me to do?”

Angi Viper as PumyraIf you could change anything since you started, what would it be? 

I would’ve started going to the LA Fabric District sooner.  I threw a ton of money down the drain shopping at Joann’s for fabric in the beginning because I didn’t know better and I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone.  I would also invest in a better sewing machine, but that’s a dream that’ll have to wait.  Honestly, every screw up has been a learning experience and I adjust something after every costume because I’m constantly growing as a cosplayer.

Angi Viper as PumyraWhat does the future hold for Angi Viper? 

I’m always pushing myself to be the best that I can, so I’ll be stretching out of my comfort zone this year and testing the limits of my cosplay abilities.  I’m releasing a short film this month that will hopefully be just the beginning of a series of films representing favorite characters the way fans have always wanted to see them – accurate to the source material.  I also hope to get back into video blogging, releasing cosplay tutorials, character bios and a few web series I’ve been mulling over for a while.  As of now, I don’t have a ton of convention plans, but we’ll see where the year takes me.  I’ll definitely be at Wonder-Con and SDCC as well as Comikaze and LBCC among hopefully many others.

UPDATE March 25th, 2013

Angi Viper just released a new video in which she not only starred as Black Widow, but also produced, directed, and sang the title song. Now that’s multi-talented! Check out her video entitled HIGH HIT below:

Angi Viper, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing more of you and your costumes in the future!

If you want to see more of Angi Viper’s cosplaying or want to contact her for appearances, check out the information below:

 

Booking & Contact

If you would like to book Angi Viper for your convention or want to contact her for modeling opportunities, you can do so through her email here.

 

Angi Viper Links

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube

Etsy

 

Photo Credits:

Ariel
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Black Widow
Photography by James Ward

Canary 1&2
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Catwoman1
Photography, retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Catwoman2
Photography and retouching by Cesar Vivid Photography

Merida
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Phoenix1
Photography, retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Phoenix2
Photography and retouching by Eurobeat Kasumi

Pumyra
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Pumyra2
Photography by Cesar Quez
Cesar Vivid Photography

Snow1
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Snow2
Photo by Chris Prasad for www.ani.me

Widow
Photography by Jonathon Courtot
Retouching and effects by Alex Rothauser

Amalthea
Photography by Sparrow Leigh Rayne
Retouching by Alex Rothauser

Chocolat Misu
Photography by Shawn Bean
Retouching by Alex Rothauser

 

- The Comic Book Critic

Featured Cosplayer – Angi Viper was last modified: November 28th, 2013 by Carlos Rodrigues